Madagascar vanilla is going through a new crisis!

Madagascar vanilla is going through a new crisis!

In recent years, Madagascar vanilla has been going through a crisis, both in terms of production and quality, but especially in terms of price. The reasons for this crisis are the passage of Cyclone Enawo and the insecurity that reigns in the Bourbon Vanilla Bean-producing regions. As a result, the sector finds itself in a speculative bubble, which, according to sector professionals, could harm the sector in the medium term.

Remember that Sava is the main vanilla producing region in Madagascar. The passage of Cyclone Enawo at the beginning of this year reduced production by around 30%, according to producer estimates. And, with the reduction in production, a kilo is currently purchased for around 284 euros in Sava. Between thefts, lynchings, and murders, the Bourbon Vanilla Beans industry is creating psychosis in Madagascar. Numerous cases of theft of green Bourbon vanilla beans were recorded before the opening of the harvest campaign. The significant increase in vanilla thefts has led people to sleep on their plantations since February. Some producers, especially those who cannot afford to pay people to monitor the plantations, harvest the vanilla before maturity to avoid theft, which leads to a drop in the vanillin level, or a loss of quality in the pods.

But you should know that the current crisis facing the Madagascar vanilla industry is not the first. The cyclone devastated almost 35% of Sava’s plantations in the 2000s. In 2003, prices soared to 530 euros per kilo before falling to 40 euros in 2004. But unlike the situation of the 2003–2004 campaign, that of 2016 is accompanied by a low level of quality never before experienced in the sector. , according to the Vanilla Exporters Group.

Certainly, natural flavors are currently in vogue, but this situation could force buyers and consumers to turn to artificial flavors. Vanilla has become a rare and very expensive product, the use of which will no longer be profitable. The other medium-term alternative to Bourbon Vanilla Beans for users of this natural flavor will be products from other emerging producing countries such as India, Indonesia, or Papua New Guinea. Note that these countries are relaunching plantations, which must be ready after four years.

Quality vanilla bean : price remains high

To ensure the sustainability of the sector, sanitation is necessary. Prime Minister Olivier Mahafaly raised the tone at the opening of the 2016 campaign on the sanctions taken against individuals who would be directly involved in vanilla trafficking. Better collaboration between exporters, collectors, and planters of Bourbon Vanilla Beans should make it possible to professionalize and strengthen the vanilla sector in Madagascar. Madagascar vanilla is highly sought-after on the world market. The country exports around 2,000 tonnes of prepared vanilla beans every year. Much of Malagasy production is shipped to Europe and the United States, but other markets also have great interest in Malagasy products.

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